A recent research article, posted by The Postpartum Stress Center on Facebook, looks into the relationship between postpartum depression and breastfeeding.
The findings? Women who breastfeed are less likely to experience postpartum depression.
Here’s what The Postpartum Stress Center had to say about the study on Facebook:
“Uh-oh. Here we go… research shows reciprocal relationship between PPD and breastfeeding. Women who breastfeed were more likely to have PPD and women with PPD were less likely to breastfeed. Now, that being said – this is NOT what I see in my clinical practice. In fact, we see more evidence of women feeling BETTER when they stop breastfeeding. For a number of reasons that vary from woman to woman. This is why it continues to be important that we read the studies, but not jump to conclusions that may not relate to each individual woman.”
Here’s my reaction:
- Small study – only 137 women
- Mentions employed mothers who were formula feeding but the abstract makes no mention of employed breastfeeding/pumping mothers.
As a blogger focused primarily on Postpartum Mood Disorders and emotional health for moms, this study raises my hackles.
I’ve blogged about the whole breastfeeding v. not-breastfeeding thing during a Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder thing before – several times- and each time, I conclude the same thing.
YOU have to do what is BEST FOR YOU. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, it doesn’t matter what the research says, it doesn’t matter what is best for baby food-wise. What matters here, the most, is that you are addressing your needs, healing, and doing so in a manner which alleviates the most stress and anxiety for you.
Your motherhood journey is just that – yours.
The only thing which matters is that you, your baby, and your family, are thriving. If your path includes breastfeeding, great. If it doesn’t, that’s great too. When you struggle with a mental illness, your emotional health absolutely comes before everything else –at least in my book it does.
If you wanted to breastfeed but find it’s too stressful because of your Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder, talk it over with your care-provider. Let them help you make your decision but don’t let them pressure you into continuing simply because the research claims breastfeeding is “protective” against PPD. Guess what? You’re already struggling. So unless breastfeeding is the ONE thing to which you’re clinging and the ONE thing which helps you heal, helps you feel like you matter, it’s OKAY to stop.
It’s okay to use formula.
Frankly, it’s sad we have to give ourselves permission not to breastfeed in this day and age. Moms use formula for a variety of reasons –as long as baby is growing, healthy, happy, and loved, it shouldn’t matter what form of nutrition is used.
So go. Do what feels best for you, for your family, and for your sanity –and don’t let anyone judge you for it.
In a new study appearing in the Journal of Pediatrics, researchers discovered a tie between Postpartum Depression and domestic violence. The study, Postpartum Depression and Intimate Partner Violence in Urban Mothers: Co-Occurrence and Child Healthcare Utilization, focused on urban mothers and screened for both Postpartum Depression and domestic violence during pediatric visits for children.
Of those screening positive for Postpartum Depression, 7% also screened positive for “intimate partner violence” according to the researchers. Also according to the study, 60% of those who screened positive for intimate partner violence also screened positive for Postpartum Depression. an interesting side note is that mothers screening positive for Postpartum Depression in this study were more likely to take their children to the Emergency room. Perhaps this is related to the higher level of anxiety and worry we experience during a Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder.
The most important thing to keep in mind as a result of this study is that the researchers did not definitively determine cause/correlation between Postpartum Depression and intimate partner violence. When you’re in an abusive relationship, it can be difficult to leave for many reasons. It may cause depression or you may “allow” the abuse for longer if you are already depressed. It’s a very fine and exhausting line on which to find yourself teetering.
There is always help and hope available though.
For those with Postpartum Depression, visit Postpartum Support International’s website to find a coordinator near you.Or call the warmline at 1-800-944-4PPD.
If you’re in an abusive relationship, you can find help throughout the United States through The Hotline.
You’re not alone, there is help, and there is hope.
From time to time, I’m contacted by Graduate students and researchers asking me to share their work in the realm of Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders.
If you have given birth within the past two years and feel up to completely a relatively painless survey (I’m told 10 minutes or less), I know the researcher would really appreciate it. She’s part of a class project at Emory University in Atlanta.
A quick note from the grad student: “All information is anonymous and will be kept confidentially. We really appreciate your help in learning more about postpartum.”
Thank you for sharing your experience!
(Also – please pass this on to anyone you think may be willing to also complete the survey or knows someone who would be willing to do so!)